Monday, July 21, 2014

The IDF continues its attacks on the Gaza Strip from land, sea and air, killing 78 Palestinians, including 25 people from a single family nr. the border with Egypt and 10 who die in Khan Yunis after shells hit their home repeatedly as they try to flee. An air strike on a tower in c. Gaza City kills 11, including 5 children. IDF troops shell al-Aqsa Hospital in c. Gaza, killing 4 and wounding 70. Palestinian fighters kill 9 Israeli soldiers during the fighting on the ground. Al-Qassam Brigades target Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Ashdod with rocket fire, with over 50 rockets fired into Israel, causing no injuries. In an al-Qassam Brigades operation, 12 Palestinian fighters enter Israel by a tunnel nr. Bayt Hanun and attack an IDF site, killing 4 and destroying a jeep with an RPG shell. Ten of the Palestinian fighters are killed in the operation and the other 2 return through the tunnel. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron, 1 nearby village and al-Fawar r.c., and 1 village nr. Qalqilya at night; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jericho and 1 village each nr. Hebron and Ramallah during the day. (AFP, AP, JP, MNA, REU, YA 7/21; PCHR 7/22)

Speaking in a televised address, former Hamas PM Haniyeh says that “Gaza has decided to end the blockade by its blood and its heroism,” adding, “We cannot go back to the silent death” of the siege. Israeli DM Ya’alon tells a parliamentary comm. that the operation will continue “as long as necessary until the completion of the task.” However, Ya’alon mentions that the Israeli govt. would welcome the PA unity govt. exercising authority in Gaza, in an apparent reversal of policy. In Doha, Hamas leader Mish‘al meets with Pres. Abbas for the 1st time since the war began. PA spokesperson Abu Rudayna reiterates the PA leadership’s call for an immediate cease-fire as a way of realizing “the national goals of the Palestinian people.” In Cairo, UN Secy.-Gen. Ban holds talks with Egyptian FM Shoukri aimed at pressing for an immediate truce. Secy. of State Kerry also arrives in Cairo to facilitate the cease-fire talks. Kerry announces that the U.S. will send $47 m. in humanitarian aid to Gaza. Meanwhile, the IDF requests access to the U.S. War Reserves Stockpile based in Israel to resupply its munitions. (AFP, AP, HA, JP, MNA, REU, YA 7/21)